JPMorgan Chase and federal authorities are nearing settlements over the bank’s ties to Bernard L. Madoff, striking tentative deals that would involve roughly $2 billion in penalties and a rare criminal action. The government will use a sizable portion of the money to compensate Mr. Madoff’s victims.
The settlements, which are coming together on the anniversary of Mr. Madoff’s arrest at his Manhattan penthouse five years ago on Wednesday, would fault the bank for turning a blind eye to his huge Ponzi scheme, according to people briefed on the case who were not authorized to speak publicly.
A settlement with federal prosecutors in Manhattan, the people said, would include a so-called deferred-prosecution agreement and more than $1 billion in penalties to resolve the criminal case. The rest of the fines would be imposed by Washington regulators investigating broader gaps in the bank’s money-laundering safeguards.
Note that nobody at JPMorgan will go to jail. This news item was posted on The New York Times website late Wednesday evening EST...and today's first story is courtesy of reader Ken Hurt.
Four former bosses from the Icelandic bank Kaupthing have been sentenced to between three and five years in prison.
They are the former chief executive, the chairman of the board, one of the majority owners and the chief executive of the Luxembourg branch.
They were accused of hiding the fact that a Qatari investor bought a stake in the firm with money lent - illegally - by the bank itself.
Kaupthing collapsed in 2008 under the weight of huge debts.
This excellent story was posted on the bbc.co.uk Internet site early yesterday afternoon GMT...and it's the first contribution of the day from South African reader B.V.
The case for British exit from the EU is diminishing. It is no longer self-evident that this country must withdraw from the EU Treaty structures to ensure self-rule and to safeguard our democracy.
Events are moving very fast in Europe, overtaking the debate in Britain. Advocates of the historic nation states - L'Europe des Patries - are gaining ground across the Continent. Superstate romantics are on the back foot almost everywhere. The Hegelians are hated.
"The time of an 'ever closer union' in every possible policy area is behind us," says the Dutch government. Its review of EU powers calls for swathes of policy, from social security to water management, to be left "more or less entirely to member states".
This commentary by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard was posted on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site late Wednesday evening GMT...and it's the first offering of the day from Roy Stephens. It's also a must read.
A Nobel prize-winning economist withdrew his support for the euro on Thursday saying it has created a “lost generation” unemployed youngsters and should be broken up.
Sir Christopher Pissarides was once a key proponent of a single currency but will on Thursday accuse the euro of “dividing Europe” and say action is needed to “restore the euro’s credibility in international markets” and the “trust that Europe’s nations once had in each other”, according to the Daily Mail.
Speaking at the London School of Economics, where he teaches, Professor Pissarides will say: “The euro should either be dismantled in an orderly way or the leading members should do the necessary as fast as possible to make it growth and employment-friendly,.
“We will get nowhere plodding along with the current line of ad hoc decision-making and inconsistent debt-relief policies.
This story, also from The Telegraph, was posted on their website early yesterday morning GMT...and it's also a must read...and it's also courtesy of Roy Stephens.
MEPs and ministers have agreed new rules to rescue insolvent banks that would target bondholders not savers, following the final round of talks in Strasbourg.
The bank recovery and resolution directive, which will apply to all 28 EU countries, sets out the hierarchy of creditors to be 'bailed-in' in the event of a bank crisis.
Shareholders and bondholders would be first in line, with savers last in the queue, while tapping public money to prevent a bank collapse would only be done as a last resort.
The new rules on bail-in will take effect from January 2016.
This news item, filed from Brussels, was posted on the euobserver.com Internet site yesterday morning Europe time...and I thank reader B.V. for his second contribution in today's column.
If one was to believe the picture that most Western media outlets are painting, Ukraine has been lost to Russia. Though the country fought valiantly to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union in Vilnius, Lithuania last month, President Viktor Yanukovych suspended negotiations with the EU at the last possible moment, betraying Ukrainians everywhere. Two recent energy deals that Ukraine has reportedly made, one with Russia and the other with Slovakia, however, show that the reality of the situation is slightly more complex.
Claiming that Yanukovych had always wanted negotiations with the EU to fail would arguably be giving him and his advisors too little credit as political strategists. In terms of public opinion, signing the Association Agreement would have all but secured Yanukovych’s re-election in 2015, whereas his step down from the deal has visibly shaken his legitimacy as President to its core. Rather, too little attention is given to the very real economic pressure Russia has placed on Ukraine and the EU’s reluctance or inability to offset Putin’s ‘trade war’. Furthermore, while Yanukovych did not sign the Association Agreement in Vilnius, he did not commit his country to Putin’s rival ‘Eurasian Union’ either.
This short Zero Hedge commentary from early yesterday afternoon EST is courtesy of Manitoba reader Ulrike Marx...and is worth reading as well...especially for any serious student of the New Great Game.
You may have thought the Geneva deal struck last month between Iran and the P5+1 nations (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany) was a sweet one for Tehran — getting billions in sanctions relief in exchange for mere promises to halt its nuclear program.
But Turkey may be an even bigger winner. It just needs to open its doors and wait for Iranian funds to pour in.
Iran was Turkey’s third largest export market in 2012. In fact, Turkey is reportedly exporting more than 20,000 products to Iran right now; among them gold and silver. It turns out that the Geneva deal also loosened sanctions on precious metals.
This Reuters story was posted on their Internet site yesterday sometime...and there's a lot about gold and silver in this article, so it's definitely worth your time. It's another offering from Ulrike Marx.
Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens has indicated he wants an Aussie dollar closer to 85 U.S. cents, while pointing to "promising signs" that the economy is transitioning away from the mining boom.
But he said that turning the lower currency into a real depreciation that spurs growth would require real wage cuts.
The currency continued its recent slide overnight, falling below 90 US cents to be trading around 89.30 US cents this morning. On Thursday it closed at 90.31 US cents.
In an interview with The Australian Financial Review, just weeks after explicitly declaring currency intervention to be part of his "toolbox", the governor told the Financial Review he would prefer a lower dollar over lower interest rates as a mechanism to spur the economy.
Sooner or later he'll end up doing what every other central bank is doing...and that's running the printing presses and/or cutting interest rates. This news item showed up on The Sydney Morning Herald website early Thursday morning ACDT. I thank Australian reader J. White for sending it our way.
1. Investors Intelligence: "We Haven't Seen Shocking Numbers Like This in Years". 2. Tom Fitzpatrick: "Twelve Amazing (Market) Charts of Christmas". 3. John Hathaway: "Shocking Events and Big Picture in Gold as We Head Into 2014". 4. Gerald Celente: "Top 10 Trends For 2014, a Year of Extremes". 5. Ronald-Peter Stoferle: "The Incredibly Important Facts About Gold as 2014 Nears".
[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests, to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]
Monetary metals expert David Morgan of The Morgan Report, was interviewed yesterday by Nathan McDonald of Sprott Money News, explains why he considers the evidence of gold market manipulation to be overwhelming; speculates that new Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen will make the outgoing chairman, Ben Bernanke, look stingy; expresses a little skepticism about bitcoin while libertarianly wishing it well; and muses about whether China wants to take over the role of the United States as issuer of the world reserve currency.
An audio and a transcript of the interview are posted at the Sprott Money News Internet site...and I thank Chris Powell for wordsmithing 'all of the above'
There's really gold in Fort Knox even if most of it seems to be in the form of bars made from relatively impure coin melt, former U.S. Mint Director Edmund C. Moy told the Whitman coin exhibition in Baltimore on November 9, reporting that he had been admitted to Fort Knox during his tenure as mint director, which ran from 2006 to 2011.
Moy added that he couldn't say just how much gold was kept at the depository, nor, infinitely more important to GATA, did he address whether any of that gold has been swapped, leased, or otherwise encumbered -- a question validated by the Federal Reserve's admission to GATA in September 2009 that it has secret gold swap arrangements with foreign banks:
Moy's comments about inspecting gold at Fort Knox were videotaped and posted last month at Coin Week's Internet site.
This 5:27 minute video is only part of what's in this GATA release from yesterday, which I consider to be a must read.
Much has been made, particularly by the gold and silver bulls, of High Frequency Trading (HFT) by the mega banks like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs as the possible (or probable) reason for some of the big take-downs in the respective metals prices which seem to have been occurring with increasing frequency over the past two years.
Trading patterns have been illogical with huge selling orders of paper metal into the futures markets, usually at a time of day when markets are thin, thus driving prices down enormously, and prompting even more stop loss sales from algorithmic computer trading programs. It is felt that no trader would sell in this manner as it hugely reduces any trading profits that might be made on the downs, although can lead to substantial profits being taken on any subsequent recovery.
This must read essay by Lawrie was posted on the mineweb.com Internet site yesterday...and I thank Casey Research's own Laurynas Vegys for bringing it to our attention.
Commodities guru Jim Rogers said that while he owns both gold and silver, he isn’t buying either one right now. But if he had to choose one, he’d buy silver.
“If I had to buy one rather than the other today, I’d buy silver because it certainly has gone down more than gold,” said Rogers, in a transcript of a radio interview on New York Markets Live with Miguel Perez-Santalla, a vice president at BullionVault.
Gold is down 30%-35%, while silver is down 60% from its all-time high, Rogers estimated. “So on a historic priced basis, if nothing else, I’d rather own silver.”
Spoken like a man who doesn't know too much about either metal other than it's going up or down in price. This very tiny story was posted on the marketwatch.com Internet site during the New York lunch hour yesterday...and I thank Roy Stephens for his final contribution to today's column.
Germany's financial regulator has demanded documents from Deutsche Bank as part of an investigation into potential manipulation of gold and silver prices.
The probe from the German watchdog comes as regulators around the world step up their scrutiny of benchmarks after the recent Libor interbank lending scandal led to hefty fines for banks.
BaFin has grilled Deutsche Bank staff during several on-site inspections in the past few months, said people familiar with the matter, in a sign of how seriously the German regulator is scrutinising the precious metals markets.
As I said within the last ten days, Deutsche Bank if the European equivalent of JPMorgan Chase. This Financial Times story, filed from Frankfurt sometime yesterday, was posted in the clear in this GATA release...and it's worth reading as well.
The explosive growth of "paper gold" has depressed the metal's price even as prices of other scarce stores of wealth are soaring, the Tocqueville Gold Fund's John Hathaway writes in a brilliant study of the gold market that takes note of many recent developments brought to your attention by GATA. Hathaway cites the intensifying threats to the "paper gold" system, predicts that money printing will become permanent policy for central banks, and concludes that the only risk-free asset remaining is metal in possession.
This absolute must read essay was posted earlier in the King World News section of the Critical Reads, and since some readers aren't fans of Eric King, I thought I'd post this as a separate story to make sure that you didn't miss it. I thank Chris Powell for wordsmithing 'all of the above' in a GATA release from yesterday afternoon.
Former OMB director David Stockman rages to none other than Rick Santelli that the budget deal is a "betrayal and a joke" and "the final surrender of the House Republican leadership to beltway politics." The dismal reality - that little to no one in the mainstream media will dare utter - the budget adds $70 billion to spending this year and next year, and "then they're going to pretend to save it in '22 and '23." Stockman blasts, "they've not only kicked the can down the road, but kicked it into low-earth orbit." The only hope of getting our fiscal house in order was if House Republicans stand up, and Stockman warns "will trigger an enormous negative reaction from Tea-Party Republicans." The truth hurts...
Santelli "we're not talking about kicking the timeline can til the mid-terms, " - "this is a two-year vacation on the fiscal budget."
"Just from the momentum built-in, our debt load will be $25 trillion by the end of the next Presidential cycle."
This short piece from Zero Hedge yesterday has the 3:52 minute Stockman/Santelli CNBC interview embedded in it, and I thank reader Ken Hurt for today's first news item.
The ratio of bulls to bears has never (that is ever) been higher according to (the perhaps ironically named) Investor's Intelligence. There are now more than 4x more bulls than bears and even more concerning, the only time "bears" have been lower than the current 14.3% was in the spring of 1987...
That's all the words there are to this tiny Zero Hedge piece from late yesterday morning EST, but the embedded chart is definitely worth your time. I thank Manitoba reader Ulrike Marx for her first contribution of the day.
Paul Volcker said he wasn’t involved with writing the final version of the rule that bears his name, staying abreast of developments from a distance as regulators crafted details of his curbs on trading by banks.
“It’s not my function to stay involved with the agencies,” Volcker, 86, said in an interview yesterday. “I get reports and updates, a problem here and a problem there, but nothing directly involved. I personally stayed away from talking with any of the principals.”
The former Federal Reserve chairman said he didn’t know how the final draft was worded before it was published yesterday. “You probably have read the rule more than I have,” Volcker said. “It’s complicated, but I was gratified to see that the rule itself is shorter than my own home insurance policy.”
This Bloomberg news item was posted on their Internet site early yesterday morning MST...and the first person through the door with it was Washington state reader S.A.
Mobs have taken over the streets across Argentina amid a police strike demanding higher salaries. Many shops have been looted and homes robbed. Police have refused to go out on patrol in 19 out of 23 Argentinean provinces. At least 10 people have been killed in the the violence that has gripped Argentina since last week.
This short photo-essay was posted on the Russia Today website late yesterday morning Moscow time...and it's a bit on the slow slide to change from one picture to the next. It's the first offering of the day from Roy Stephens.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble met with his EU colleagues until midnight on Tuesday to discuss Europe's planned banking union. Berlin is playing it safe in the talks, but its hesitancy threatens to derail the project's core ambitions.
If there's one notion at the core of the planned European banking union, it's that of playing it safe. The union has been designed to ensure that the financial markets will become more stable and that shareholders and creditors will be held more liable than taxpayers. And it is meant to ensure that Europe will be better armed if the European Central Bank comes across unexpected holes in balance sheets when it conducts stress tests this spring on the euro zone's 130 largest banks.
But when German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party appeared before journalists just before midnight in Brussels on Tuesday, it became clear that things, once again, are anything but secure. Schäuble negotiated for close to 14 hours with his counterparts in Europe over the banking union, which many champions of the European Union believe is as epochal an event as the launch of the euro.
This story showed up on the German website spiegel.de yesterday afternoon Europe time...and it's the second article in a row from Roy Stephens.
EU finance ministers finished marathon talks early on Wednesday - but they will try again next week to reach a deal on the eve of an EU summit.
Bank failures triggered the eurozone financial crises that struck the Republic of Ireland, Spain and Cyprus.
The new rescue blueprint would involve transferring powers to a new EU agency.
There are arguments over the future scope of that agency's powers - and the plan still has to be agreed with the European Parliament.
Once you start reading this, it's hard to believe that this story is on the same issue as the previous spiegel.de story...but it is. This version of events was posted on the bbc.co.uk Internet site very early yesterday morning GMT. This news item is courtesy of South Africa reader B.V.
Luxembourg and Austria came under attack on Tuesday after the two countries stood firm and blocked plans to increase transparency in tax reporting.
At a meeting of finance ministers in Brussels, the final formal gathering of 2013, ministers from the two countries insisted that they will not agree to a reformed savings tax directive until the E.U. has reached agreements on banking secrecy with nearby tax havens such as Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
E.U. tax commissioner Algirdas Semeta said he was "clearly disappointed," adding that the two countries' intransigence was "incomprehensible" and "out of sync" with the public mood.
This very interesting article, filed from Brussels, was posted on the euobserver.com Internet site on Tuesday evening...and it's another story from Roy Stephens.
Italy's Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni said on Tuesday that public intervention on troubled banks should come after inflicting losses on bondholders through a minimum bail-in of 8 percent of total bank liabilities.
Yet, Saccomanni the introduction of bail-in clauses may spread risks across the euro zone banking sector.
"In case of a systemic crisis, public intervention would be preferable to the risk of contagion generated by an extended use of bail-in (clauses)," Saccomanni said speaking at a meeting of European Union finance ministers in Brussels.
That's all there is to this tiny Reuters piece, filed from Brussels on Tuesday morning EST. It's an item I found in yesterday's edition of the King Report.
Protests of the so-called "Pitchfork Movement" spread across Italy Wednesday as demonstrations against tax hikes driven by austerity measures gained ground.
Protest leaders threatened a large-scale demonstration in Rome if members of parliament did not withhold their votes from a confidence measure, ANSA reported.
In the third day of anti-government demonstrations, protesters in Turin blocked traffic while other protests around the city shut down food markets and other businesses.
This short article was posted on the UPI website yesterday morning EST...and once again I thank Roy Stephens for sending it.
Pro-E.U. protests in Kiev have been marked by western politicians’ regular visits to the protesters’ camp, and their emotional condemnations of Ukraine’s authorities. This is seen by some analysts as unprecedented meddling in a country’s internal affairs.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, handed out snacks on Wednesday to protesters on Kiev’s Independence Square (or ‘Maidan’ as it’s nicknamed), making those who witnessed the scene wonder if a reciprocal gesture would be imaginable during something like an Occupy Wall Street protest in New York.
Nuland’s act of philanthropy and meeting with President Viktor Yanukovich, where she reprimanded him for “absolutely impermissible” treatment of the protesters, came hours after John Kerry made a very strong statement on Ukraine.
This story showed up on the Russia Today website yesterday afternoon Moscow time...and it's also courtesy of Roy Stephens. It's worth reading if you're a serious student of the New Great Game.
Russia unveiled a sign Wednesday that will be used to represent the ruble alongside other major world currencies.
The new symbol, which resembles the Latin letter "P" with a horizontal score through it, will be used by the Central Bank and appear on Russia's coins and banknotes, financial officials told reporters.
The sign was approved by the central bank after a period of public consultation, during which 61 percent of participants voted for the eventual winner, Central Bank chairwoman Elvira Nabiullina said.
The decision to seek a symbol for the ruble comes as Russia strives to extend its global economic reach. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has championed a drive to make Moscow an international financial center in recent years, and has called for the ruble to become one of the world's reserve currencies.
This very interesting news item was posted on themoscowtimes.com Internet site yesterday sometime...and it's a story that I found over at the gata.org Internet site.
Russia’s Foreign Minister is on his first visit to Iran since President Rouhani took office. Consistent implementation of the key Geneva agreement on the Iranian nuclear program is paving the way to regional stability and international security.
The Geneva agreement on the Iranian nuclear program allows us to address some of the most pressing concerns about the nature and direction of Iran's nuclear activities. The Joint Action Plan, adopted by the P5+1 and Iran, includes specific measures aimed at enhancing transparency, to be undertaken in close cooperation with the IAEA.
In parallel with the implementation of the first steps, the sides are to continue the work on a final and comprehensive agreement. It provides for full use of the inalienable rights of Iran as a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It also suggests a gradual weakening of anti-Iranian sanctions regime.
This is another story from the Russia Today website. It was posted their early yesterday morning Moscow time...and constitutes the final offering of the day from Roy Stephens. It's worth reading, especially if you're a student of the New Great Game.
Gold researcher and GATA consultant Koos Jansen today translates into English and publishes commentary written in June by Chinese financial management executive Zheng Gang about what he considers a financial war being waged against the world by the United States.
"The strategic 'game' to preserve the U.S. dollar's global status is now the focus of international political and economic activity," Zheng writes. "The U.S. makes a new kind of non-military offensive against developing and transforming countries derived from her ability to set favorable rules, an ability she possesses through dollar hegemony."
This longish commentary was posted on the Swiss Internet site ingoldwetrust.ch yesterday. It's well worth reading in my opinion...and it's another story I found posted inside a GATA release yesterday.
1. John Ing: "This 2014 Surprise is Going to Cause Gold to Super-Surge". 2. Tom Fitzpatrick: "This Fantastic Chart Predicts a Massive $275 Surge in Gold". 3. Rick Rule: "Spectacularly Bullish Gold News We Haven't Seen in 3 Years".
[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests, to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]
There seems to have been the suggestion of something of a turnaround in sentiment on gold, ironically as virtually every bank analyst and his dog has been predicting a continuing downturn in the gold price – which, I suppose is the time to buy on true contrarian thinking. Now whether the latest move upwards – not a big one so far by any stretch of the imagination – is sustainable, remains to be seen, but the factors surrounding the upturn are, to say the least, interesting.
One does not exactly need a long memory to recall that every indication that the U.S. Fed may actually implement any kind of taper since the proposal was first put forward by Ben Bernanke has been met with a sharp downturn in the gold price – until perhaps a couple of weeks ago when the opposite seems to have happened. For the person in the street – and the investment herd which should know better but never does – the recent seeming improvement in U.S. employment statistics has been taken as suggesting the Fed may implement some form of taper sooner rather than later. Never mind how distorted these figures may have been by the government statistical shutdown in October, nor how downwardly massaged they have been by changes in assessment criteria in recent years. Other (massaged) official statistical data have also purported to suggest the U.S. economy is improving to the extent that a tapering of the Fed bond buying program, even a small one, could actually happen. Yet news supporting such a scenario over the past couple of weeks has seen the gold price rise, rather than fall. What does this mean?
This commentary by Lawrie, which is definitely worth reading, was posted on the mineweb.com Internet site early on Tuesday morning GMT...and it's courtesy of Ulrike Marx.
Faced with analysts and investment trading houses that are undervaluing the company, Iamgold announced Wednesday that “it has suspended future dividend payments until further notice.”
In a news release Wednesday, Iamgold CEO Steve Letwin said, “While our outlook for gold over the long term is optimistic, in light of the current gold price we are suspending the dividend to preserve our balance sheet.”
“We are on target to reduce costs by $100 million this year and will continue to look for further reductions next year,” he said. “This decision to suspend the dividend allows us to conserve cash and ensure we maintain the flexibility we need to take advantage of opportunities when they arise.
I note that nowhere in the story that there was going to be any attempt by anyone at Iamgold to delve into the reason why gold prices might be as low as they are. Their shareholders know, but that matters not. This story was posted on the mineweb.com Internet site just after midnight earlier this morning EST
Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council chief C. Rangarajan today said India can tolerate USD 30 billion worth of gold imports. A major reason for high current account deficit (CAD) in the last fiscal was high imports of gold.
"As inflation comes down and as financial assets become more attractive, perhaps this part of demand for gold can come down and we can probably tolerate USD 30 billion worth of import of gold," Rangarajan said at the Delhi Economic Conclave. Earlier inaugurating the conclave, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said India can neither finance a CAD of the order of USD 88 billion as it did in 2012-13 nor can afford to pay for import of gold in the order of USD 50 billion or more.
The CAD touched a lifetime high of USD 88.2 billion in 2012-13 mainly due to high gold imports (845 tonnes) and firm crude oil prices. Higher CAD also led to the battering of rupee which plunged to all time low of 68.85 in August-end. The government as well as Reserve Bank took a slew of measures to curb gold imports. The measures showed results as in-bound shipment fell significantly.
This short, but very interesting news item was posted on the moneycontrol.com Internet site late yesterday afternoon IST...and I thank Ulrike Marx for her last contribution to today's column.
Reports out of South Korea (ROK) suggest that North Korea is selling ‘large amounts’ of gold to China because of an economic crisis within the country. With South Korea always prepared to believe the worst of its northern neighbour, with which it is still technically at war, perhaps such claims should be viewed with a certain amount of scepticism – but with some undoubted cross border contacts the South Korean news agencies which reported the sales, may well have an inside track as to what is going on in the North – they are certainly better informed on their northern neighbour than anyone else.
While North Korea does not report its gold holdings to the IMF and thus do not appear in official statistics, reports back in 2007 suggested the country held gold reserves of around 2,000 tonnes, which would make it one of the world’s largest holders of the precious metal. Indeed, if that figure is anywhere near correct then this is around double what China says it holds in reserves, although most people think China has been building its reserves to well above the official reported holding of 1,054 tonnes.
This must read news item by Lawrence Williams was posted on the mineweb.com Internet site sometime yesterday.
U.S. banks will no longer be able to make big trading bets with their own money after regulators on Tuesday finalized the Volcker rule and shut down what was a hugely profitable business for Wall Street before the credit crisis.
After struggling for more than two years to craft the complex rule, five regulatory agencies signed off on the nearly 900-page reform that included new tough sections narrowing carve-outs for legitimate trades.
In the final wording, banks could still engage in market-making and take on positions to help clients trade but their inventories should not exceed "the reasonably expected near-term demands of customers," the regulators said.
Regulators also extended the deadline by which banks have to fully comply with the new regulations by one year to July 2015, a widely expected move after they repeatedly missed deadlines for the rule. Further delays were also possible, the regulators said in the text of the rule.
So, what have we got in the end, dear reader? Beats me, but from what I've read in the above four paragraphs I've cut and paste from this Reuters story, I could drive a Greyhound bus through it. For the moment, it appears that it's "business as usual" for JPMorgan, HSBC USA and Citigroup. I thank Manitoba reader Ulrike Marx for today's first story.
Five federal agencies on Tuesday issued final rules developed jointly to implement section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Volcker Rule”).
The final rules prohibit insured depository institutions and companies affiliated with insured depository institutions (“banking entities”) from engaging in short-term proprietary trading of certain securities, derivatives, commodity futures and options on these instruments, for their own account. The final rules also impose limits on banking entities’ investments in, and other relationships with, hedge funds or private equity funds.
Like the Dodd-Frank Act, the final rules provide exemptions for certain activities, including market making, underwriting, hedging, trading in government obligations, insurance company activities, and organizing and offering hedge funds or private equity funds. The final rules also clarify that certain activities are not prohibited, including acting as agent, broker, or custodian.
This is part of the short press release that as posted on the cftc.gov Internet site yesterday...and I thank Ted Butler for sending it along.
A certain amount of fatalism always seems to creep in whenever the government promises a new fix for something perceived to be ailing the financial system and capital markets. Back in 2002, when Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the big problem was the auditing profession, which had been exposed as an oxymoron by Enron Corp. and other corporate frauds. Today the hot topic is the banking industry and the matter of proprietary trading, the definition of which is evolving.
After Sarbanes-Oxley was adopted, the Securities and Exchange Commission and a new regulator, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, passed a bunch of rules on everything from new audit reports on companies' internal accounting controls to new restrictions on the types of non-audit services that firms could sell to audit clients. It would be hard to make the case today that audit quality has improved.
Now comes the Volcker rule from the SEC and four other federal regulatory agencies, acting in response to instructions by Congress in the Dodd-Frank Act. (That would be the 2010 law that promised to end too-big-to-fail and didn't.) The Volcker rule promises to end proprietary trading by federally insured banks, except in those instances when it doesn't. And there's some merit to having a ban: Lots of people dislike the idea of banks gambling with federally insured customer deposits, because they might blow themselves up and either cause damage to others or require a taxpayer bailout.
This short op-ed piece by Jonathan was posted on the Bloomberg website early yesterday morning EST...and it's worth reading. I thank Ulrike Marx for her second offering in today's column.
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. has applied for a patent for a digital-payment network that would allow for anonymous payments like the virtual currency bitcoin, according to a patent application dated Nov. 28. The application was first highlighted by Let's Talk Bitcoin.
"Embodiments of the invention include a method and system for conducting financial transactions over a payment network," the application said. "The method further includes freely publishing the payment address and making it available to users of an internet portal or search engine." A J.P. Morgan media contact didn't immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
These two paragraphs are all there is to this marketwatch.com story from early yesterday afternoon EST...and it's courtesy of reader "Andres A".
The current malaise of news, data, and spin is "meaningless," David Stockman tells Bloomberg's Tom Keene, adding that markets are exhibiting "the kind of speculative froth you get at the top of a cycle where valuation loses any anchor in the real world; from earnings or the prospects of the economy."
As he argued before, "owning stocks here is very dangerous," and despite Keene's best efforts to denigrate Stockman's "of course it's a bubble," perspective; the former inside-man exposes the hard mathematical truths of valuations, performance, and reality in this brief clip. Who is to blame - The Fed or Wall Street? "It is a question of who has taken whom hostage," Stockman concludes ominously, "it's a co-dependency...it's very dangerous."
This short Zero Hedge story from early Monday evening has the 1:43 minute Bloomberg clip embedded in it...and I thank reader "G. Roberts" for bringing it to our attention.
When the BIS’s Claudio Borrio warns about the return of “search for yield”, everyone should sit up and take notice.
The BIS’s latest quarterly review points out that yield compression is back with a vengeance, and in some respects is actually now worse than it was in the lead-up to the crisis. With interest rates at rock bottom, lenders are again throwing caution to the wind, and investing indiscriminately. There was a brief return to saner conditions last summer when the Fed suggested it might end quantitative easing, but the consequent widening of spreads was viewed as so alarming by policymakers that the threat was soon withdrawn, and now we are back to where we were.
Unconventional monetary policy is meant to work on the “hair of the dog that bit you” principle. By fighting a crisis caused by too much money with yet more money, the central bank hopes to restore the economy to a “normally” functioning machine, at which point saner voices are meant to take over and a more sustainable form of growth establishes itself.
Unfortunately, the near free money environment has gone on for much longer than anyone anticipated. What’s more, we seem quite incapable of easing ourselves off the life support.
This commentary by Jeremy Warner, who is sounding an awful lot like Doug Noland, was posted on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site early Monday evening GMT...and it's the first offering of the day from Roy Stephens. It's definitely worth reading.
The International Monetary Fund has poured cold water over claims that the eurozone is safely recovering, calling on the European Central Bank to take pre-emptive action to alleviate the credit crunch for small business and head off the risk of deflation.
Christine Lagarde, the IMF's managing director, said it is "premature to declare victory", warning that EU governments may have to ditch austerity policies and switch to fiscal stimulus to kick-start growth and avert lasting damage to the underlying economy.
"Looking past the headlines, there are clearly signs that not all is well," she told a forum in Brussels, highlighting the risk of a "vicious cycle" in which depressed demand and stagnant investment feed on each other.
The warning came as fresh data showed Greece's recovery may be stalling again, with mounting risks of a relapse into recession over the winter. The Greek statistics office said industrial output had fallen 5.2pc in October, a sharp deterioration from minus 1.3pc in September.
Here's a commentary from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard that was posted on The Telegraph's website yesterday afternoon GMT. It's another contribution from Roy Stephens, for which I thank him, and it's definitely worth reading as well.
Authorities around the world are taking action against large banks for questionable practices including collusion and rate manipulation, but the power of these financial institutions continues to grow. Germany's Deutsche Bank in particular finds itself under fire.
Government agencies around the globe are taking an aggressive approach toward the financial industry. In London regulators are investigating banks that allegedly manipulated the price of gold. In Brussels the European Commission has slapped financial institutions with billions in penalties for rigging key interest rates.
A handful of financial companies dominate the trading of currencies, natural resources and interest-rate products. Although millions of investors and companies participate in these deals, buy and sell, hedge their bets and speculate, these transactions are handled by an exclusive club of global institutions like Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan or Goldman Sachs. These are also the financial giants that determine the reference rates that serve as a benchmark for deals worth trillions.
The main profiteers of these deals write important rules of the game themselves -- and the events of recent weeks have shown that they often abuse their power in the process.
This 2-page must read essay was posted on the German website spiegel.de during the lunch hour in Europe yesterday...and it's another offering from Roy Stephens.
Anti-government protesters in Ukraine calling for the government to step down are working from a playbook, following to the letter a manual for regime change through popular revolutions, said RT political analyst and columnist, Nebojsa Malic.
RT: Is there any chance of a compromise between the government and the opposition at this point?
Nebojsa Malic: The opposition has said that it doesn’t want any compromise, that it is not interested in anything short of a regime change. But the thing we have to keep in mind is that this is being played straight out of a playbook. This is following a script and the opposition’s activities are generally geared to create as much unrest and show as possible. But there is very little substance behind both their demands and their posturing.
We have evidence today that repeated reports of an incoming crackdown failed to materialize, not because there was supposed to be any sort of crackdown, but because that’s how they keep the people wound up.
This news item was posted on the Russia Today website early yesterday afternoon Moscow time...and once again I thank Roy Stephens for sending it our way. It's required reading for all students of the New Great Game.
Russia will create forces in the Arctic in 2014 to ensure military security and protect the country’s national interests in the region, which President Vladimir Putin has named among the government’s top priorities.
Russia is returning to the Arctic and “intensifying the development of this promising region” so it needs to “have all the levers for the protection of its security and national interests,” Putin said on Tuesday at an expanded meeting of the Defense Ministry Board.
He ordered the ministry to complete the formation of new military units and infrastructure in the Arctic next year.
This is another Roy Stephens contribution from the Russia Today website. This story was posted on their Internet site yesterday afternoon Moscow time.
It's been a source of endless fascination to follow the game of geopolitical Go being played since China declared an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea.
The spin in the United States is relentless; this was no less than "saber-rattling", a "bellicose" posture and a unilateral "provocation". The meeting last week between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US Vice-President Joe Biden in Beijing may have done nothing to dispel it.
This is what the White House says Xi and Biden talked about; Beijing did not release a transcript. In the hysteria front, this op-ed in the Financial Times - reflecting a warped consensus in the City of London - even managed to crank it up to pre-World War II levels.
The whole drama is far from being just about a few islets and rocks that China calls Diaoyu and Japan Senkaku, or the crucial access to the precious waters that surround them, harboring untold riches in oil and natural gas; it concerns no less than the future of China as a sea power rivaling the US.
This essay by Pepe that was posted on the Asia Times website yesterday. It's certainly worth reading for all students of the New Great Game...and I thank Roy Stephens for finding it for us. It's his last contribution to today's column.
1. James Turk: "Metals War Rages and Today's Rally in Gold and Silver". 2. Dr. Marc Faber: "The Asset Class Hated Even More Than Gold and Silver". 3. William Kaye: "Absolutely Stunning Developments in the War on Gold". 4. The audio interview is with Dr. Marc Faber.
[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests, to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]
Gold and silver are extending yesterday's gains as US markets awake this morning. The crack higher at around 8:07ET caused the futures market to be halted after 3,000 Gold Futures contracts traded in one second at 08:07:45 on December 10, 2013 sending the price up $10 and tripping circuit breakers for 10 seconds.
This sort of thing is happening far too often: see also the drops on April 12, 2013, September 12, 2013, October 11, 2013, November 20, 2013 and November 25, 2013 which also resulted in trading halts.
That's about all there is to this Zero Hedge piece from early yesterday morning...but the charts and graphs are worth looking at. I thank Ulrike Marx for sharing it with us.
Gold production by U.S. mines dropped 5% in September, compared to 20,400 kg (655,875 troy ounces) of output reported in August 2013.
U.S. gold mine production was down slightly in September with 19,300 kilograms (620,509 troy ounces) of production compared to 19,600 kg (630,154 oz) for September of 2012, says the U.S. Geological Survey.
The state of Nevada led U.S. gold output in September with 14,500 kg (466,185 oz) of production, followed by Alaska at 2,680 kg (86,164 oz) and other states at 2,170 kg (69,797 oz).
This short news item was posted on the mineweb.com Internet site earlier this morning...and I found it there just before I hit the send button on today's column.
In my column last Friday, I posted a very excellent article by Alex Stanczyk with the above headline...and it's linked here.
Since then, the audio interview from which the above story was transcribed, is now available. It was posted on the physicalgoldfund.com Internet site yesterday...and it runs for just under 19 minutes.
I thank reader Harold Jacobsen for bringing it to our attention.
Pitting monetary philosopher Jean-Baptiste Say against the economist John Maynard Keynes, GoldMoney research director Alasdair Macleod predicts that Say will be vindicated, insofar as economics and economies will continue, if inconveniently, when those in charge of money manage to destroy it.
This short essay by Alasdair was posted on the goldmoney.com Internet site on Monday...and is worth reading. I found it embedded in a GATA release yesterday.
The Finance Ministry in a written reply addressed to the lower house of the Indian Parliament has clarified that the government has never banned gold coin sales by banks in the country.
Towards end-November, the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation allowed its members to sell gold coins of smaller denominations. The relaxation of the self-imposed ban saw coins of 2 gram, 3 gram and 5 gram flocking at jewellery outlets.
In was in the midst of renewed coin sales by jewellers that the Deputy Minister of Finance Namo Narain Meena clarified the government’s standpoint on the matter. According to him, the government has not officially put any ban on gold coin sales by jewellers or banks.
This story, filed from Mumbai, was posted on the scrapmonster.com Internet site early yesterday morning IST. A bit is lost in the translation, but it's worth skimming nonetheless. My thanks go out to Ulrike Marx for bringing this article to our attention.
Despite pleas from government to lower gold purchases in a bid to bring down the current account deficit, India's politicians appear to have been soaking up significant quantities of the precious metal.
Though gold appears to have lost its glimmer across global markets, the frenzy at which Indian politicians have been buying gold over the past few years has been laid bare with elections around the corner in India.
As is the practice, candidates standing for election as well as those belonging to political parties have to submit affidavits declaring all their assets - and gold has tumbled out of many closets.
This interesting read, filed from Mumbai as well, was posted on the mineweb.com Internet site yesterday...and I thank Ulrike Marx for her final contribution to today's column.
L: That's interesting. But I'm not sure gold bugs would find this to be bad news. The thing they're afraid to hear is that the market has peaked already—that the $1,900 nominal price peak in 2011 was the top, and that it's downhill for the next two decades. To hear you say that there is a basis in more than one type of analysis for arguing that we're still in the middle of the bull cycle—and that it should go upwards over the next 10 years—that's actually quite welcome.
Petrov: Yes, it's great news. But we're still not going to get to the Mania Phase for at least another two, but more likely four to six years from now.
Now, we should clarify what we mean by the Mania Phase. Last time, it was the 1979 to early 1980 period. It's the last phase of the cycle when the price goes parabolic. Past cycles show that the Mania Phase is typically 10% or 15% of the total cycle. So it's important to pick the proper dates for defining a gold bull market. I prefer to date the previous one from 1966 as the beginning of the market, to January of 1980 as the top of the cycle. That means that the previous bull market lasted 14 years, and it's fair to say that the Mania Phase lasted about 18 months, or just under 15% of the cycle.
So I expect the Mania Phase for the current bull cycle to last about two to three years, and it's many years yet until we reach it.
This longish interview features Professor Krassimir Petrov...and Casey Research's Louis James...and was posted on the CR website very early yesterday morning EST. Needless to say, I agree with very little that the good professor has to say, as the precious metal prices are 100 percent controlled by JPMorgan et al in the Comex futures market...and it's entirely up to them as to how high and how fast precious metal prices are allowed to rise; and when it will all begin. I'll let you be judge and jury on this one.
As a student of market history, I’ve seen that maxim made true time and again. The cycle swings fear back to greed. The overcautious become the overzealous. And at the top, the story is always the same: Too much credit, too much speculation, the suspension of disbelief, and the spread of the idea that this time is different.
It doesn’t matter whether it was the expansion of railroads heading into the crash of 1893 or the excitement over the consolidation of the steel industry in 1901 or the mixing of speculation and banking heading into 1907. Or whether it involves an epic expansion of mortgage credit, IPO activity, or central-bank stimulus. What can’t continue forever ultimately won’t.
The weaknesses of the human heart and mind means the swings will always exist. Our rudimentary understanding of the forces of economics, which in turn, reflect ultimately reflect the fallacies of people making investing, purchasing, and saving decisions, means policymakers will never defeat the vagaries of the business cycle.
This 2-page commentary was posted on the martketwatch.com Internet site just before lunch EST last Friday...and reader Eric Gould slid it into my in-box on Saturday morning.
When U.S. regulators adopt the Volcker rule on Tuesday...[That's today. - Ed]...they will make good on a promise by politicians to rein in banks' ability to gamble with their own money.
The coordinated action by five separate regulatory agencies is seen sparking a court challenge as Wall Street tries once again to avoid one of the harshest elements of the post-financial crisis crackdown.
The rule, championed by former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, was a last-minute addition to the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law and takes aim at a business that had been a big money spinner for banks before the crisis.
The measure bans banks from making bets for their own profits, an activity known as proprietary trading that regulators deemed too risky for banks that enjoy government backstops.
One wonders if that will include the precious metals, dear reader? Despite Deutsche Bank giving up commodity trading last week, it still has its precious metal trading desk, so one has to wonder. We won't have long to wait to find out. This story was posted on The New York Times website early Sunday morning EST...and it's courtesy of Phil Barlett. It's definitely worth reading.
The most curious thing of all about the November jobs report released on Friday was the huge drop in the unemployment rate — and the fact that the Labor Department chose not to disclose that the data going into that figure are under investigation for falsification.
On Nov. 19, I broke the news in my column that the Census Bureau, which collects data that goes into the jobless rate on behalf of Labor, had caught one of its enumerators fabricating interviews in 2010.
The culprit said back then (and to me during an interview) that he was told to do so by Census supervisors who were in the position to instruct others to make similar fabrications.
In fact, a source who I haven’t named but who is familiar with the Census data accumulation process has told me that falsifications have been occurring on a regular basis.
Why should anyone be surprised? This short commentary by John was posted on the New York Post website very early on Saturday morning...and it's courtesy of reader Mark Hagen.
Federal authorities have obtained confidential documents that shed new light on JPMorgan Chase's decision to hire the children of China's ruling elite, securing emails that show how the bank linked one prominent hire to "existing and potential business opportunities" from a Chinese government-run company.
The documents, which also include spreadsheets that list the bank's "track record" for converting hires into business deals, offer the most detailed account yet of JPMorgan's "Sons and Daughters" hiring program, which has been at the center of a federal bribery investigation for months. The spreadsheets and emails -- recently submitted by JPMorgan to authorities -- illuminate how the bank created the program to prevent questionable hiring practices but ultimately viewed it as a gateway to doing business with state-owned companies in China, which commonly issue stock with the help of Wall Street banks.
No surprises here, either. This news item appeared on The New York Times website early Saturday afternoon EST...and I found the story [and the headline] in a GATA release.
The world's leading technology companies have united to demand sweeping changes to U.S. surveillance laws, urging an international ban on bulk collection of data to help preserve the public's “trust in the internet”.
In their most concerted response yet to disclosures by the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Twitter and AOL have published an open letter to Barack Obama and Congress on Monday, throwing their weight behind radical reforms already proposed by Washington politicians.
“The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favour of the state and away from the rights of the individual – rights that are enshrined in our constitution,” urges the letter signed by the eight US-based internet giants. “This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It’s time for change.”
This longish, but must read article, was posted on theguardian.com Internet site yesterday afternoon GMT.
The head of German telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom has called for Europe to do more to protect privacy and combat international spying. Rene Obermann's words come as eight of the world's largest technology companies appealed to President Barack Obama and the US Congress to enact sweeping changes to spying laws and put a stop to mass collection of data.
Obermann, who became chairman of the Deutsche Telekom board in 2006, told German business daily Handelsblatt that politicians in the European Union are not doing enough in response to the spying scandal uncovered by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden earlier this year. The documents from his archive include allegations that the NSA and the British intelligence agency GCHQ hacked into internal connections between data centers belonging to Google and Yahoo, while millions of pieces of data were gathered. It was also revealed that the NSA was keeping track of mobile phones across the world -- and had even eavesdropped on German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Obermann pulled no punches in criticizing the data gathering carried out by intelligence agencies in the US and beyond, and said: "I was angered most of all because confidence in two pillars of our society, free communication and privacy, has been shaken to such an extent. I think what is happening is in the long term even dangerous to democracy."
This article was posted on the German website spiegel.de yesterday afternoon Europe time...and I thank Roy Stephens for bringing it to our attention.
As bonds and stocks soar, and Europe's leaders continue to proclaim victory, despite Draghi's downbeat jawboning as EUR surges to growth-crushing levels, it is well known that the employment situation remains abysmal in the real economy.
However, what is worse that the red-flashing-headlines of record youth (and total) unemployment is, as Bloomberg's Niraj Shah notes, 125 million people in the E.U. were at risk of poverty or social exclusion. According to Eurostat, that is 24.8% of the population. Almost half of Bulgarians faced economic hardship and Greece had the highest poverty rate in the euro area at 34.6% (though if Stournaras was to be believed this weekend, their problems are solved).
That's all there is to this short Zero Hedge piece from yesterday morning...but the chart is a must to view. I thank Manitoba reader Ulrike Marx for sending it our way.
They are not sleeping in tents in Independence Square, but Ukraine’s ultra-wealthy businessmen, known as the oligarchs, perhaps pose as grave a threat to President Viktor F. Yanukovich as the demonstrators on the streets of this capital city.
“Do you think there is a big difference between people on the street and people with big business?” said the most visible, and the most pro-Western, of the oligarchs, Petro Poroshenko, a shipping, confectionery and agriculture magnate whose television station has been broadcasting round the clock from Independence Square.
“There is no difference in their love of their own country,” he said in an interview in the lobby of the Ukraine Hotel, overlooking the square, where the protesters appeared as miniature silent figures, waving flags and milling about bonfires. “At the end of the day, we are all talking about the modernization of the economy and the country.”
This 2-page article was posted on The New York Times website on Friday sometime...and it's definitely worth reading, especially if you're a student of the New Great Game. It's the second offering of the day from Roy Stephens.
Public protests thundered into a full-throttle civil uprising in Ukraine on Sunday, as hundreds of thousands of protesters answered President Viktor F. Yanukovich’s dismissiveness with their biggest rally so far, demanding that he and his government resign.
At the height of the unrest on Sunday night, a seething crowd toppled and smashed a statue of Lenin, the most prominent monument to the Communist leader in Kiev. The act was heavy with symbolism, underscoring the protesters’ rage at Russia over its role in the events that first prompted the protests: Mr. Yanukovich’s abrupt refusal to sign sweeping political and free-trade agreements with the European Union.
After an electrifying assembly in Independence Square in the center of Kiev, the main focus of the protests, the huge crowd surged across the capital, erecting barriers to block the streets around the presidential headquarters and pitching huge tents in strategic intersections. They were not challenged by the police, who have largely disengaged since their bloody crackdown on a group of protesters on Nov. 30 sharply increased outrage at the government.
This is another story from The New York Times. This one showed up on their Internet site on Sunday sometime...and it's another contribution from Roy Stephens. It's also a must read for all students of the New Great Game.
The French planned operation in the Central African Republic is a part of the ongoing inner-imperialist rivalry between France and the United States for control of post-colonial Africa, Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of Pan-African News Wire, told RT.
President Hollande has said that France will take immediate military action as sectarian violence escalates in the Central African Republic.
Earlier the U.N. Security Council voted to allow French troops to join an African peacekeeping force.
Fresh clashes between local militias in the capital Bangui have killed about 100 people and wounded scores more.
This story was posted on the Russia Today website during the Moscow lunch hour last Friday...and my thanks go out to South African reader B.V.
The U.S. will airlift African Union forces to the Central African Republic as part of an effort to aid French troops who are in the country to put down rising violence, defense officials said.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel authorized the deployment of the U.S. transport planes and pilots Sunday night, responding to a request for assistance from France. The planes will be used to carry troops from Burundi to the Central African Republic, where France has deployed 1,600 troops to try to quell rising violence.
Fighting has increased in the Central African Republic since March when a rebel group seized power. The rebel leader, Michel Djotodia, named himself president.
Turmoil has escalated in recent days, claiming 400 lives and prompting the French intervention. On Monday, French soldiers began disarming fighters in the Central African Republic.
This Zero Hedge piece was posted on their Internet site early yesterday afternoon EST...and I thank reader 'David in California' for sharing it with us.
The bulldozers started up with a rumble this year in this bucolic corner of southern Japan, unleashing a construction frenzy — and a sinking feeling of déjà vu.
The traffic cones and “under construction” signs alongside Saga’s roads and waterways are about the only visible change brought about by “Abenomics,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s much-lauded plan to put Japan back on the path to growth. Residents here say the building boom is a throwback to Japan’s troubled 1990s, when far-flung regions across the country tried to build their way back to prosperity.
And they worry that, like previous attempts, growth will not last.
“How long before all this winds down again? That’s what everyone’s worried about,” said Masataka Matsuo, a construction worker reinforcing an irrigation ditch several miles away from the city center.
This very interesting 2-page New York Times essay was something Phil Barlett sent my way early Sunday evening...and it's worth your while if you have the time.
South Korea on Sunday declared an expanded air defence zone that overlaps with one recently announced by China that has sharply increased regional tensions.
Seoul's defence ministry said its new zone, which will take effect on December 15, would cover Ieodo -- a submerged rock reef in waters off its south coast which China calls Suyan.
These two paragraphs are all there is to this AFP story posted on the france24.com Internet site on Sunday evening Europe time...and it's another offering from South African reader B.V.
The US is ramping up pressure to secure a Trans-Pacific Trade Deal with conditions that could undermine the national interests of nations involved. WikiLeaks documents say talks are “paralyzed,” with the U.S. refusing to compromise on disputed issues.
Anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks has released two documents revealing the state of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The deal in question includes 12 countries – the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei – which represent more than 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product.
The 12 nations are in Singapore this week to discuss the trade agreement. Following a closed-door meeting in Singapore, Japan's trade minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told press he would like “the United States to show flexibility.”
"I've already mentioned the parts we can't budge on, so the issue is what both sides can do based on that,” Nishimura said.
"With conditions that could undermine the national interests of nations involved"...The American Empire never sleeps. This must read article was posted on the Russia Today website yesterday morning Moscow time, which was just after midnight in New York.
1. Dr. Marc Faber [#1]: "His Stunning 2014 Predictions". 2. John Embry: "This Will Bring Down the Entire Financial System". 3. Dr. Marc Faber [#2]: "The Super-Rich and Shocking Surprises For 2014". 4. Richard Russell: "U.S. May Destroy the World Monetary System". 5. Bill Fleckenstein: "How the U.S. Can Solve its Massive Problems". 6. Robert Fitzwilson: "Gold, Silver and the Desperation of Western Governments". 7. Eric Sprott: "The End Game is Absolutely Horrifying". 8. Michael Pento: "This is Going to Shock Investors Around the Globe". 9. The first audio interview is with Eric Sprott...and the second audio interview is with Bill Fleckenstein.
[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests, to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]
Norman Rockwell’s Saying Grace became the most expensive American painting ever sold at auction last week, fetching $46m (£28m) at Sotheby’s in New York.
The following day at Christie’s, an anonymous buyer set a record for a painting by Rockwell’s contemporary, Edward Hopper, whose Depression-era work, East Wind Over Weehawken, sold for $40.5m.
And yet, as recent sales go, both seem like small fry. Over 48 hours in November, Manhattan’s two leading auction houses saw more than $1.1bn spent on 20th-century art, setting new records for the most-expensive work ever sold at auction, the most expensive work by a living artist ever sold at auction and – with $691m splurged in a single evening at Christie’s – the highest ever total for a single auction.
You know everything is going off the rails when you read stuff like this. This news item was posted on the independent.co.uk Internet site on Sunday...and I thank reader M.A. for finding it for us.
Gold analysts are bearish for a third week, the longest stretch since February 2010, as prices approach $1,200 an ounce and a stronger U.S. economy improves the chance that the Federal Reserve will reduce fiscal stimulus.
Sixteen analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News expect gold to fall next week, 11 are bullish and two neutral. Prices tumbled 26 percent this year, heading for the first annual drop in 13 years and the biggest in more than three decades. Bullion last traded below $1,200 on June 28.
U.S. growth seems to be gathering momentum,” said Ole Hansen, the head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen. “Gold has been suffering again lately as taper talk and a friendly risk environment have provided better investment opportunities elsewhere.”
This b.s. Bloomberg article about gold and its prospects was posted on their website Friday afternoon Denver time...and reader Ken Hurt sent it our way.
Revenu-Québec is seeking prison sentences and fines totalling $750-million for Kitco Metals Inc. founder Bart Kitner and directors with several other gold trading firms following one of the biggest tax fraud investigations in provincial history.
Quebec’s revenue department on Monday said it filed a total of 1,920 charges against Kitco and 11 other companies as well as their directors and an accountant implicated in an alleged fraud scheme linked to gold processing. Some 120 charges were filed against Kitco and another 120 against Mr. Kitner involving total fines of $454.6-million.
“This is an investigation that’s lasted several years and the evidence is significant,” said Revenu-Québec spokesman Stéphane Dion. “Without a doubt, it’s one of the largest investigations we’ve ever done.”
This very interesting Financial Post story, filed from Montreal, found a home on theprovince.com Internet site yesterday...and silver analyst Ted Butler was the first reader through the door with it.
An Indian wedding without gold is an unheard of thing. With the nation moving into wedding season mode, gold importers are making hay across the country, asking for extremely strong premiums from jewellers, who have been rushing to get hold of the precious metal.
"Imports are down to a trickle. There is absolutely no gold available anywhere in the country. Most jewellers have been making do with recycled gold, but given the wedding season that is upon us, many of us are finding it difficult to keep pace with the soaring demand for gold,'' said Manish Kedia, bullion retailer.
While some retailers said they paid up premiums as high as $120 an ounce last week, on December 6, premiums crossed $180 an ounce higher than London prices.
This news item, filed from Mumbai, was posted on the mineweb.com Internet site yesterday...and I thank reader M.A. for bringing it to our attention.
Economist and market analyst Alasdair Macleod today outlines what he sees as China's strategy toward the West, the Middle East, and Asia, a strategy in which gold plays what could become the decisive role.
Macleod writes: "Physical gold is being cornered, leaving Western capital markets operating as little more than casinos backed only by hot air. The dollar will one day be a bit-player in international trade, meaning that enormous quantities are becoming redundant and will have to be sold for something else. After the inevitable upward explosion in the dollar price of gold, we shall be left wondering at what price we will need to offer our goods and services to get some of it back from Asia."
It's posted at his Internet site financeandeconomics.org and it's something I found in a GATA release yesterday. It's an absolute must read...especially for all serious students of the New Great Game.